PNE winger’s starring show

Keith Treacy celebrates with Darren Carter and Iain Hume after scoring against Sheffield United  at Deepdale in 2011
Keith Treacy celebrates with Darren Carter and Iain Hume after scoring against Sheffield United at Deepdale in 2011
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MEMORY MATCH

Preston North End and Sheffield United were battling relegation from the Championship – ultimately unsuccessfully – when they met at Deepdale in April 2011.

It was a clash of the bottom two, with the Blades propping up the division and North End just above them.

But a recent upturn in form had offered hope to the PNE supporters that their side could avoid the drop.

Three straight wins had been followed by a defeat and two draws, and the teams emerged from the tunnel to the ‘Great Escape’ theme tune.

It was North End who emerged victorious, a jittery first-half display giving way to much better after the break.

Keith Treacy netted twice to put the hosts in command, only for Jordan Slew to reduce the arrears and set up a tense finish.

However, a third goal on the counter-attack from sub Nathan Ellington sealed the three points for Phil Brown’s men late in the contest.

The Lilywhites had drawn away to both Portsmouth and Doncaster in the week leading up to United’s visit.

In the first half there were chances at either end. Treacy, Chris Brown and Iain Hume all tried their luck for PNE.

At the other end, Darius Henderson broke clear down the right-hand channel and squared a pass inside to Stephen Quinn.

But unmarked in the middle, Quinn miscued his shot so badly that it went out for a throw-in.

United wasted another golden opportunity early in the second half, Bjorn Risse heading wide from barely three yard out.

The game swung the way of Preston in the 55th minute, Billy Jones winning a free-kick 25 yards out.

Winger Treacy curled it left-footed around the wall, the ball sneaking past keeper Steve Simonsen at the far post.

Moments later, Treacy hammered a shot against the woodwork as North End went for the throat.

They increased the lead with 68 minutes on the clock, Barry Nicholson having won a corner on the left.

Treacy delivered it into the box, the ball cleared back out to him by Harry Maguire.

The Irishman jinked inside from the wing and thumped a powerful shot into the far corner.

Within four minutes the Blades had cut the deficit, Slew tucking away a low shot after his initial attempt had been blocked.

North End got nervous as Henderson hit the post, and they rode their luck a couple more times.

But victory was sealed in the 90th minute to the joy of the home fans.

A midfield challenge from Darren Carter saw the ball break to Hume, who surged clear into the United half.

Hume slipped a nicely-weighted pass beyond the last defender to play in Ellington, who took a touch and shot past keeper Simonsen as he came off his line.